The Cleveland Guardians should bring up Zack Collins and not Bo Naylor.
Bo Naylor is going to get his chance to play in the major leagues, it just shouldn’t be any time this year. Naylor has been a long-talked-about prospect in the minors, and with his brother Josh on the big league club, many fans are hoping the brothers can power the team to the playoffs and beyond.
That may happen, eventually, but right now Naylor is not having a good year in Triple-A, despite what a lot of people would tell you. He does have power as a hitter but historically he’s a very average player at the plate. He has just a .241 career batting average in the minors and he strikes out a lot.
So much so, that his trend of play in the minors mirrors others who were called up too soon and struggled. At the moment he’s hitting a respectable .263, which is nice. But whenever players come up from Triple-A, they end up losing 20-40 points off their average, which is why you really don’t want to call up many guys who aren’t hitting close to, or over, .300.
He does have a nice ability to draw a walk, but his strikeouts and medical contact numbers suggest more seasoning is needed. More importantly, he’s fallen off as a defensive catcher. Right now he’s a liability for the Columbus Clippers.
Not only is he second on the team in errors (only Brayan Rocchino had more), but he can’t throw anyone out. Naylor is allowing 89% of base runners to steal on him. 39 men have run on him, and only five were thrown out. Considering Naylor is supposed to be a “super” prospect, he sure isn’t putting up super stats.
The Cleveland Guardians do have a name to call up if they’re desperate
The Guardians are not devoid of catching options in Triple-A Columbus. They do have 28-year-old, former Major Leaguer, Zack Collins. Collins is tied with Naylor for plate appearances and is out-pacing him significantly.
Naylor has splits of .263/.405/.526 and an OPS of .930, while hitting nine home runs, 32 RBIs, with 33 walks and 39 strikeouts.
Collins is having a bit better of a season. Hitting .327/.416/.547 with an OPS of .963, while hitting eight home runs, 35 RBIs, with 22 walks and 39 strikeouts. More importantly, he’s got a much higher rate of throwing out runners, 23%, to Naylor’s 11%.
Collins is not the better prospect, clearly, because he’s not a prospect. But as far as giving the Guardians a catcher who might be able to achieve more than a few hits in a month, he may be the better option today.
Not next year, not all-time, not forever. Just right now, at this moment, Collins is the better option. If he fails, so what? If Naylor comes up, struggles, and gets sent back down, who knows if he’ll ever recover from that? A lot of prospects don’t.
The Guardians need to be patient with Naylor and not rush his development, which I’m afraid is going to happen.